Church services marks World Cancer Day

A church service was held yesterday at Vaiala to mark World Cancer Day and to remember those who are fighting the disease, have passed on or have survived. 

The Minister of Health Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama and his good lady Lafainatau Tuitama and the Associate Minister of Health, Salausa Dr. John Ah Ching represented the Government at the service, which was convened at the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa at Vaiala.

They were joined by the Australian High Commissioner to Samoa Sara Moriarty, Samoa Cancer Society (SCS) Chief Executive Officer Shelley Burich, and the reigning Miss Samoa Sonia Piva. 

The Health Minister said the World Cancer Day was an opportune time for the various stakeholders to highlight the effects of cancer and to ensure work is done to tackle it in Samoa. 

“It is a day to highlight the effects of cancer and to ensure works that are done in curing those affected, and for everyone to come together in fighting against this universal epidemic which knows no boundaries.

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“Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide with Samoa being the second highest killer after the cardiovascular diseases. Mortality is high because of the limited primary health care and cancer treatments and the lack of effective screening programs delay diagnosis at the stage where some cancers are easily treated,” he said. 

Tuitama said Samoa’s health expenditure on non-communicable diseases accounted for over 40 per cent of the total health expenditure, and this is mostly spent on clinical care.

“The main objectives of Cancer Day worldwide are to save as many as possible of preventable deaths each year, by raising awareness and education about cancer and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take positive actions against the disease,” he said.

The theme for this year’s commemoration is “I am and I will” and emphasises affirmative positive action, which Tuitama said should be taken in the fight against cancer. 

“This campaign gives the opportunity to increasing public and community engagements and building individual awareness and impact-driven actions,” he added.

Tuitama acknowledged the work by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the SCS to strengthen mechanisms to support the fight against cancer. 

“This year’s activities started with the ‘Health Fun Run’ held on Saturday 2nd of February at the Tuanaimato Complex – in boosting physical activities – and I thank everyone’s participation.

“We hosted this very service to remember those who have passed on and for those who are still fighting. I am and I will make healthy choices for a healthier Samoa,” he said. 

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